ISLAMABAD: The federal censor board has said that the ban on Asher Azeem’s directorial debut ‘Maalik’ was triggered by viewers’ adverse reaction followed by a ‘plethora of complaints’.
On April 27, Maalik was banned indefinitely across the country and the Ministry of Information revoked the censor certificate earlier given to the flick without providing any reason whatsoever for the ban. Earlier to this, the Sindh government had also banned the film within the province but retreated from the decision after a few hours.
The next day the ban was challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) with the petitioner urging the court to lift the ban as there was nothing anti-state in the movie and it only highlighted corruption in the society. The petition also stated that the ban was a violation of the people’s right to entertainment and information.
After this the LHC asked the federal government and the censor board to provide explanations and the reason for the ban on the film today, the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) issued a statement saying that the objections to the film were raised by the viewers themselves.
This prompted them to ban the picture for various reasons which includes ‘ethnic stereotyping, glorification of militants, mockery of the democratic voting process, incitement to violence and the portrayal of police and politicians’.
The CBFC stated that it received numerous complaints from across the country three days after the film was released. These complaints included phone calls, letters and even personal visits to their office.
“Due to the adverse and negative public reaction and the threats to burning down to ashes of cinema houses, the CBFC requested the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to decertify the film,” read the statement.
It stated that the move was not unprecedented and was done in accordance with the law, citing Section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance 1979 which allows them to decertify any film.